Nursing Times Award Winner

Clearly written notes, clearly displayed can help carers care for patients in the community

Many people who are cared for in the community have relatives who are anxious to do as much as they can to help too. If a close relative is not at home when a carer calls, it can be extremely helpful to have information that can be helpful to the person needing care, clearly displayed.

One word of caution when doing this. We would suggest that you take time to ensure that the list does not come across as too bossy as this may insult or offend the person reading it. Stand back from the information once you have written it down and try and imagine how it reads from another person's point of view. If it reads as a criticism of what they are not doing, that may not be the best approach. Maybe start with a friendly line and, better still, a line or two thanking people for what they have already done, if that is appropriate.

We were delighted to receive the following advice from Phiippa M about the list she left for her mother's carers..

'As well as people in hospital, there are those who are cared for at home. Many older people suffer from some form of dementia and, as their memory fades, this can prove difficult for Home Care Workers to address their needs. This is something I did for my Mum, whom we managed to keep in her own home with a high degree of support. Realising that care workers can differ from day to day, I typed and laminated an information sheet and stuck it to the fridge.

The list included information about emergency telephone numbers, where things important to my mother could be located, how she liked her tea/coffee, In fact, any information to assist others in the care of my mum and help make her life more comfortable. It worked well, meaning more time was spent with Mum than looking for essentials.'

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